Director Mel Brooks spent a lot of money on white handkerchiefs while making his 1974 tour de farce, Young Frankenstein. "I gave everybody in the crew a white handkerchief," said the 88-year-old comedy legend during a recent phone interview. "I said, 'When you feel like laughing, put this in your mouth.' Every once in a while, I'd turn around and see a sea of white handkerchiefs, and I said, 'I got a hit.'"An interview with Mel Brooks on the 40th anniversary of Young Frankenstein, with an overview of the events that lead to what Mel Brooks calls 'by far the best movie I ever made.' [more inside]
Young Frankenstein was more than a hit. It is a comic masterpiece.
The Great Authorial Hookup Chart (larger image), or how to connect Bram Stoker to Arthur Miller in 12 connections, and from Oscar Wilde to Roald Dahl in 12 romances (or how to make distracted students pay attention to English and History), from Black Balloon Publishing's Airship Daily blog. [more inside]
With the loss of Elizabeth Taylor perhaps it is time to check in on those performers from the golden age of film who are still with us. [more inside]
Polysyllabic Magical Incantations. For those who enjoy vigorous criticism, a bone-crushing takedown from biologist and blogger PZ Myers of David Brooks' latest foray into belles lettres. [more inside]
David Brooks is very excited about the results reported by the Harlem Children's Zone. But do the statistics back up his excitement?
David Brooks, Social Psychologist, Mark Liberman at Language Log looks at the science behind David Brook's latest column in which he claims there is a fundamental differences between the thought processes of individuals in Asian "collectivist" societies and Western "individualist" ones. (via)
From unprecedented chart-topping, to crossover appeal, to the bizarre image change and retirement from music, he was truly country's Michael Jackson. While many of us may not have cared for his music or paid much attention to his core audience, those of us who were inspired despite ourselves by the (previously posted) Will.i.am video might just find something in the surprisingly liberal prince of the red states. [more inside]
In 1964, Mel Brooks won both the Oscar & BAFTA Best Short Film awards for The Critic. His first film, it revolves around an old man heckling abstract animation that he doesn't understand. Youtube (lower quality) | brettratner.com (higher quality)
Romaine Brooks (1874-1970), American expatriate artist known for her haunting portraiture and striking palette, suffered a childhood so dark that she entitled her (unpublished) memoir "No Pleasant Memories." She went on to become an important figure in early twentieth century art and earned the Legion d'honneur in 1920 for her contributions to France in World World I. A pivotal figure in the Paris lesbian salons, Brooks was the model for characters in novels by Radclyffe Hall, Compton Mackenzie and Djuna Barnes. Although said to be "fully herself only when alone," she had a fifty year relationship with Natalie Clifford Barney. Her art has enjoyed a reappreciation in recent years and her work has been featured in exhibitions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Berkeley Art Museum. Her life and work have been the subject of several books and have a startling contemporary resonance.
The octopi are back and they're pissed -- or, the continuing misadventures of the one-eyed suitor. [mpg here]
Americans pay lip service to diversity says David Brooks in The Atlantic. Though we talk about the melting pot, we tend to group ourselves with similar people. Do you really care enough about diversity to actively seek it out? Is metafilter a virtual example of this phenomenon?
Why Europeans And Arabs Hate America And Israel: In this brash, provocative essay for The Weekly Standard, good old David Brooks blames what he calls bourgeoisophobia. He may have gone too far in his desire to make his point, but there's something in what he says. Is it envy? Is it anti-semitism? Is it hypocrisy pure and simple? There's definitely a ressurgence of the pushy, garish, ostentatious and arrogant "ugly American" stereotype after September 11. Apart from the conservative Daily Telegraph and Spectator, it's becoming more and more difficult for Atlanticists such as myself to avoid ritual America-bashing in the European mainstream press. What in the hell is going on? My feeling is that Americans themselves are going out of their way to reaffirm their way of life and reinforce those prejudices. It's as if you vont to be alone. Or is it, as I suspect, just us? [More inside]